Teens pull rabbit out of a hat

May 14, 2007 @ 9:30 am

By Aaron Siegel

NEW YORK — Three high school students are using a fuzzy brown rabbit in a pair of blue overalls to teach second graders about the need to start saving early — and the teens are up for a national award.

High school freshmen from the Family Career and Community Leaders of America Inc. club at San Saba (Texas) High School have used the Sammy Rabbit character to encourage children to read and save. The club is a family-focused student organization based in Reston, Va.

“[Sammy Rabbit] gives children a visual, and the songs are really catchy, and it has a strong message for children,” said Jane Carter, a teacher of family and consumer sciences at San Saba High who serves as adviser to the club.

She added that the students — Amanda Carpenter, Natasha Hernandez and Beka Wright — will compete in the National FCCLA Star Events competition in Anaheim, Calif., July 8-12. They already have won the Texas FCCLA Star Events’ Focus on Children contest.

Sammy Rabbit is the brainchild of Sam Renick, a former financial adviser with independent broker-dealer National Planning Corp. of Santa Monica, Calif. Mr. Renick, who also founded Los Angeles-based It’s a Habit Co. Inc., created the character in 2000.

His idea led to two books and music focused on getting across the message of financial education.

“One of the problems with all of the financial-education initiatives is that there is nothing that is targeted to kids,” Mr. Renick said. “How many financial services education programs can you sing about, dance with and hug?”

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